Tiger Tales is a weekly piece highlighting a DePauw student-athlete. Athletic-intern Adam Tierney conducts the interviews.
Wyatt Spector is a senior southpaw on the DePauw baseball team. He recently concluded his season after DePauw's elimination from the NCAC Tournament with 80.2 innings pitch, 51 strikeouts, a 4-5 record and a 3.35 ERA.
Spector originates from Barrington, Ill. and is a graduate of Lake Zurich High School. He likes to go fishing with buddies, play Euchre, dabble in some Xbox with The Bigs and making the most of Greencastle.
Wyatt is majoring in communications and a member of Phi Kappa Psi.
Q: What is your most memorable athletic moment?
A: Sophomore year, the 2013-14 season, the team won their first conference championship beating Wooster back-to-back. That was incredible to see a team that just got hot at the right time. Then we went on to win the first two games of regionals, but unfortunately lost in a solid battle to St. Thomas. Just to get that far with a great group of guys is incredible.
Q: How would you describe your team atmosphere?
A: Super weird. We're the weirdest team in the NCAC. Our coaches joke all the time that they wish they could bug our dugout just to hear the conversations and superstitions that go on. We love having a good time and staying relaxed. Our team motto is, "So what?" I think we enjoy playing with our backs to the wall. We are hard-working, determined and an emotional team, but most importantly we are pretty weird.
Q: Do you have any superstitions?
A: I have a lot of minor superstitions. I wear the same socks (funky socks) and undershirt each outing. We have handshakes before and after each game and certain handshakes between innings. There is a lot of "stay in the same spot" type of deal. From a personal perspective, I always grab dirt before grabbing the ball, and I count the amount of steps it takes me to get to the mound. I always make sure it's five or else we could be in trouble. Those are a few minor ones, but I'll keep the other ones secret for the time being.
Q: What is your role on team?
A: I am a social senior captain. I'd like to take that as a compliment in a way. Like many, not all captains are perfect. Where I exceed are the relationships that I make with the underclassmen. Those relationships are important to me because over the years, the seniors that have come before me have built me into the baseball player I am today. So I try to pay that forward and lead by example the way the seniors did before me.
Q: Why did you choose DePauw?
A: I didn't even think I was going to play a college sport until sophomore year of high school. That year my coach recommended to me that I look into playing college baseball. DePauw saw me at a showcase and started recruiting me. I had no idea where it was or anything about the school. I always got DePauw and DePaul confused. So, as soon as I got on campus, much like other students, I fell in love with the place. I really enjoyed the campus atmosphere.
Q: Do you like winning or hate losing more?
A: Obviously everyone likes a winner, but at the same time hating losing makes you work harder and band together. It's a sink or swim type of mentality. You can give up and feel sorry about yourself or become a winner. That's what makes team sports so rewarding and aggravating at times because you rely on a number of individuals, it can be difficult to get everyone to sync, but once that happens, you can see some really fantastic things end up happening.
Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: "There is no normal life, Wyatt, there is just life, you live it"- Doc Holiday to Wyatt Earp in the movie Tombstone. My pops always quotes that movie and you always just got to be you and enjoy the ride.
Q: If you were to be stranded on an island, what three things would you want?
A: I would say teriyaki sauce so I can fillet the fish. Plus outing it with anything just makes it great. I'd have to take a pack of gum, "Extra polarized." The third would be a skin board because you can use it as a boogie board as well.
Q: Who is your favorite athlete past or present?
A: Chris Sale is definitely my favorite athlete. I look up to him and he inspires me. He is an absolute talent to watch. I have seen him pitch a few times, and I have gone down to the bullpen when he is pitching and yelled, "Sale what is your secret?" He hasn't answered me yet.
Q: What is your advice to younger ones?
A: I would say stick with it as long as possible. It is a game for a reason that can teach you so many life lessons and life skills. If you are no longer enjoying it, throw in the towel because there are a lot more things in life and DePauw that you can get involved in. Give it all you got and if you don't enjoy the game, then it isn't worth spreading it to the rest of the team. Take advantage of your situation and play the game. Have fun. Stay weird.